By Peter Walker for CNN
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(CNN) -- Business schools worldwide are, understandably, rushing to equip students with the skills needed to trade with China.
But there is another emerging economic giant that cannot be ignored -- India.
With a population of 1.1 billion and a fast-growing and increasingly affluent middle class, India is an increasingly important market for aspirant business executives to understand.
This is all the more so in Britain, India's former colonial ruler and home to more than a million people of Indian origin, not to mention a partner in bilateral trade worth nearly 15 billion dollars last year.
The increasing importance of the countries' business relationship has been reinforced this month, with two leading British business schools announcing major new links with India.
Judge Business School, the highly-ranked institution attached to Cambridge University, has just signed a three-year deal with the Indian School of Business for the exchange of students.
The program will see some Indian School of Business students spent a semester in Cambridge on Judge's full-time MBA course, while students from Judge make the opposite journey to Hyderabad in India.
The exchange students will attend lectures and undertake consulting projects with the research arm of software giant Microsoft, a partner in the project.
The emphasis on high-tech business reflects both India's increasing prominence in the global IT industry, and also the popularity of the so-called "Silicon Fen" area around Cambridge, in eastern England, as a hub for technology firms.
The UK and Indian schools "share much in common in terms of our goals for our students," said Dr Shai Vyakarnam, Director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Learning at Judge.
"As a rapidly developing economy, India is also becoming one of these new sources of innovation, so it is a fantastic opportunity for us to provide educational services to inspire and build up skills in the practice of entrepreneurship to India's future business leaders," Vyakarnam said.
In a separate venture, the highly-rated Tanaka Business School, part of London University's Imperial College, has just announced it is to launch a new Indian research center in London, working with the Confederation of Indian Industry.
The Rajiv Gandhi Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship -- named after the Indian prime minister assassinated in 1991 -- is intended to help Indian and British companies improve innovation management.
The aim to is to "permit the cross-fertilization of ideas between science, engineering, medicine and business" in India and Britain.
"India is fast becoming one of the economic wonders of the 21st century, and we believe that the world can learn much from its experience," noted Sir Richard Sykes, rector of Imperial College.
"India's economic success will increasingly depend on wealth creation through knowledge and hi-tech interaction with the global economy and we feel that this historic agreement between Imperial and the Confederation of Indian Industry will help pave the way towards a more innovative corporate environment and increasing interaction between the bright new hopes of our two countries," he added.
Business riches: India's famous Taj Mahal.
FACT BOXFT's Executive MBA Rankings
1. Wharton, U.S.
2. Hong Kong UST, China
3. London Business School, UK
4. Instituto de Empresa, Spain
5. Fuqua, Duke, U.S.
6. Chicago GSB, U.S.
7. Columbia, U.S.
8. Kellogg, U.S.
9. Stern, NY, U.S.
10. Cass, City University, UK
Source: Financial Times 2006
FACT BOXEMBA SNAPSHOT
Executives taking the top EMBA courses in the U.S., Europe and Asia have average salaries of around $130,000 to $200,000.
A typical EMBA student is likely to be aged in the early 30s, with 6-10 years of working experience.
A top EMBA course can cost $100,000. Customized courses start at a few thousand dollars.